Knicks fall short to the Hawks: 3 major takeaways from Game 1

Alec Burks, Knicks. (Photo by Seth Wenig - Pool/Getty Images)
Alec Burks, Knicks. (Photo by Seth Wenig - Pool/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Knicks, Julius Randle (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Knicks need better play from Julius Randle

Julius Randle is having a monster year, but game 1 was arguable his worst game of the season. Randle finished the game with 15 points on 6 of 23 shooting from the field. Randle had a dominant regular season series against Atlanta, averaging 37 points per game in the series, but this game he was absolutely awful.

Throughout the game, it was clear that the Hawk’s team strategy was to double team Randle with Clint Capela as the extra defender and force Randle to try to make difficult passes.

This strategy clearly worked as Randle dished out 4 assists but also turned it over 3 times. Despite Atlanta’s defensive strategy, it appeared Randle beat himself more than he got locked down. He was missing pull-up jumpers that he made a living on all season and he even had one play where he dribbled the ball out of bounds with no defensive pressure.

Instead of attacking the basket when he had a slower defender on him, Randle appeared to settle for contested jump shots.

Randle could have been in his own head or this could have just been an off-shooting night, which every all-star goes through.

Either way, Randle needs to play better for the Knicks to win this series. Randle is the hub of the Knicks offense, they desperately need him to score and create easy baskets for his teammates.

The main reason New York is the 4th seed in the East is that he is an All-NBA-caliber player. Randle needs to step up in big-time in game 2 for the Knicks to bounce back.